How Reading Apps for Students Could Decrease the Reading Achievement Gap

September 20, 2022

Reading Apps for Students

While many parents might take literacy as an educational ‘given,’ learning to read and becoming a proficient reader don’t always correlate. Some children might not possess the skills necessary to begin their early literacy journey, and others might fall behind and never catch up to peers.

Statistics show that one in three children entering kindergarten lack the necessary skills that are fundamental to early reading. In addition, only one in five children read at least 30 minutes per day; for those who struggle, this lack of reading could have academic repercussions. Reading apps for students could help to increase exposure to reading materials and, hopefully, even lessen literacy achievement gaps for struggling readers.

Reading Apps for Students

Reading Struggles Can Persist

Students who struggle to read might continue to lag behind peers and fail to hit grade-level benchmarks and reading expectations. There is a 90 percent chance that a child who struggles to read in first grade will still struggle by the time they hit fourth grade.

Not all children who struggle with reading will qualify for additional educational intervention. Some simply might not struggle enough to receive guidance in a specialized environment or program. Unfortunately, teachers only have so much time to provide one-on-one help with each child.

Some struggling readers could fall through the cracks of the system. By the time these students reach higher grade levels, they might be far behind their peers. While they might be provided additional instruction or educational intervention at this point, catching up to expected literacy benchmarks could be difficult.

When a child is struggling to read or is failing to read on grade-level, parents (and teachers) could use other resources to provide help. Even if the child doesn’t meet the requirements for additional educational intervention or specialized reading services, parents and the school could discuss using a reading app to provide the student with additional literacy tutoring and enrichment.

  • A reading app helps struggling readers in several ways. These apps:
  • Provide access to additional reading materials
  • Offer integrated one-on-one guided reading assistance
  • Create a fun and immersive learning environment for guided reading instruction
  • Serve as lower-cost alternatives to private tutoring
  • Generate measurable results to help teachers and parents understand a child’s reading progress

Reading Apps for Students

Access to Reading Materials

Socioeconomic status unfairly impacts the educational resources that are available to children. While middle-class communities are able to provide 13 books for every child, lower income communities struggle to provide enough books for children. In fact, low-income communities have one book for every 300 children.

Reading apps like Readability let children have access to a library of book titles. In this way, the app can help narrow the educational resource gap for children who lack access to enough reading materials.

With Readability, children can explore the titles in their book library from anywhere and at any time. They can read at home or even in the car. Younger students who struggle to read also can benefit from hearing narrated stories via Readability’s Storytime feature. With Storytime, children can listen and follow along to their favorite books in their Readability library.

Whether a child is reading aloud independently or listening to a narrated book, the exposure to words and stories helps children develop an appreciation for reading. Access to books and stories allows children the opportunity to choose books they want to read, and they might be more inclined to engage in regular reading sessions. Reading more books also introduces children to more words, increasing their vocabulary awareness.

Integrated One-on-One Guided Reading Assistance

A reading app shouldn’t require a child to sit in front of a screen and try to decipher stories on their own. For children who struggle with some aspect of literacy, the app should provide guidance and instruction. Struggling readers shouldn’t be left without proper instruction.

Yet, every reading app could be designed and programmed differently. When using Readability, children read stories aloud. The app includes a built-in AI tutor that is programmed with voice-recognition software, and, as a child reads aloud, the tutor is listening for any struggles.

When a child has difficulty decoding a word, the AI tutor will provide help and encouragement. In addition, the tutor asks the student questions at the end of each story to gauge comprehension.

If the student answers a question incorrectly, the tutor will show them a section from the story that offers clues about the answer. The tutor also reads the section aloud. The student receives another opportunity to answer the question. Readability helps children understand the concept of re-reading and going back in the text to find clues that aid in comprehension.

Some children struggle with sounds, blends and decoding. Others struggle with comprehension. Some children have difficulty with all aspects of the literacy journey. Readability’s AI tutor provides help for all reading struggles, guides students and helps them gain confidence and fluency.

Reading Apps for Students

Create a Fun and Immersive Learning Environment

Children who read below grade-level might avoid reading. This could be related to shame and embarrassment, or the child might feel that reading is simply too hard.

The school days are long, and for younger children, these days might seem even longer if lessons are more difficult for them to complete. When teachers (or parents) want to help a child who struggles to read, choosing an app that offers an immersive, interactive and fun learning environment could boost the child’s engagement and their interest, too.

Readability provides books that are leveled for each child’s reading ability; these books also are written to appeal to the student’s age-level interests. All books in Readability’s library include colorful illustrations to ensure that struggling readers aren’t overwhelmed by big chunks of text.

Children can explore the content within stories, too. Every book in Readability includes vocabulary words, but children can tap any word in a story to hear its definition or listen to the word used in a sentence.

Readability books also are compatible with Accelerated Reader (AR). Many school districts use AR in their classrooms. AR includes comprehension-based quizzes to test a child’s understanding of the books they read.

When a child scores well on an AR quiz, the program awards them points. Many teachers offer prizes or other rewards that correlate to specific AR point milestones. Children who use Readability can take AR quizzes on these books at school to earn points. Reading via Readability helps children meet their AR goals!

A Lower-Cost Alternative to Private Tutoring

Parents might consider private tutoring services to help their child gain reading confidence, increase their proficiency and help them meet grade-level reading expectations. Unfortunately, the price of private tutoring isn’t affordable for all families.

While there are many different options for tutoring services (including companies that specialize in educational tutoring), some parents might find that weekly tutoring sessions are cost-prohibitive. Reading apps provide a virtual tutoring option that is priced much lower than private one-on-one in-person tutoring services.

A Readability subscription costs $19.99 per month, and one account can be used for up to three children. Parents also could sign up for a free seven-day trial period to explore the app and let their child become familiar with the AI tutor.

Generate Measurable Results to Understand a Child’s Reading Progress

Parents and educators want to know that an app or service will be beneficial and help a struggling reader boost their proficiency. Apps should offer measurable results to help parents and teachers analyze and assess the reading progress of students.

Readability tracks reading proficiency and reading comprehension. As a child reads aloud, the AI tutor is listening and tracking the words read per minute (i.e. reading proficiency).  At the end of each book, the tutor also quizzes a child about the book (reading comprehension).

Parents and teachers can review this data on a progress dashboard that is private and not accessible to students. The dashboard also includes data related to the child’s reading level and how long the student used the app.

All this reading data can be collated into a comprehensive report. Parents can email this report to the child’s teacher, or, if Readability is being used in the classroom, the teacher can email the report to parents.

Utilizing a reading app provides struggling readers with multiple benefits. Children have access to reading materials at any time, and they can utilize a one-on-one AI tutor that helps guide lessons. Apps also provide a low-cost alternative to private tutoring and they can provide additional literacy intervention when a child simply doesn’t qualify for help at school.

For parents or teachers that want to explore Readability, sign up for a free seven-day trial period today.